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The new Routes into Languages website is currently in development and will be launching in the new year!


Promoting the take-up of languages and student mobility

West Midlands

Intensive courses in Japanese and Chinese

Wednesday, 2 April, 2008 - 11:00 to Friday, 4 April, 2008 - 17:00
Event Type: 
West Midlands
University of Birmingham

These 3-day courses are held at the University of Birmingham
for gifted and talented Year 9 pupils (2 to 4 April 2008) and Year 12 pupils
(28 to 30 July 2008). They combine an introduction to each language with an insight
into Chinese and Japanese culture.

FLAGS (Foreign Languages Awareness Groups for Schools)

Wednesday, 23 January, 2008 - 17:00 to Wednesday, 26 March, 2008 - 17:00
Event Type: 
West Midlands
University of Birmingham

This e-mentoring
project, hosted by the University of Birmingham, aims to raise the enthusiasm
for language learning in Year 9 pupils by offering them a 9-week Web CT course
for beginners in Italian (from January 2008) and later in the year in Japanese,
German and Chinese. The pupils are supported in their learning by undergraduate

**Results** - European Day of Languages Poster Competition 2013!

West Midlands

A huge thank you to all the pupils who entered our European Day of Languages Poster competition this year!


Our theme this year was "Countries" and we were looking for eye catching posters showing a country where the language the pupil is learning is spoken. It came with a twist though! Pupils had to choose a country outside of the "mother country" of the language (so if they chose French, they must choose a country other than France, if they choose Spanish it must be a country other than Spain and so on).



We received over 700 entries across Years 7 - 9 each with a wide range of countries from those close to home like Switzerland, Belgium and Monaco and those much further afield such as Madagascar, Peru and Singapore represented! We were very impressed by the level of creativity displayed, the amount and accuracy of foreign language used and the depth of research which had gone into the posters - choosing just one winner and runner up per year group was very difficult and we commend all pupils for their efforts.


The winners were those who the judges deemed to best display the background, language and culture of the country they had chosen, demonstrated an effort to use foreign languages and originality of illustration as part of a well presented and attractive poster.


Congratulations to winners and runners up in the categories below. Winners will receive £20 vouchers for HMV and a certificate, runners up will receive £10 vouchers for HMV and a certificate. Prizes will be presented by student ambassadors in special school assemblies.



Winner - Jade Griffiths, The Rawlett School


Runner up - Aiden Childs, Charlton School



Winner - Layla Ali, Pedmore Technology College


Runner up - Anisah Hussain, Yardleys School



Winner - Rose Winn, Haybridge High School


Runner up - Charlie Sheargold, William Brookes School



Year 7 - Luke Osborne, Walton High School


Year 7 - Adam Stinchcombe, The Earls High School


Year 7 - Millie Mae Fawcett, Walton High School


Year 8 - Simran Mahmood - Pedmore Technology College


Year 9 - Reanna Sandhu, Haybridge High School


Year 9 Gracie Radford, The Rawlett School


Make Your Own Comic Book - a special competition for budding artists across the UK

West Midlands

Calling all comic devotees: BD&Comics Passion is back at the Institut français in London from May 30th to June 2nd 2013! Workshops, live drawing, concerts and movies galore are on the agenda, with some of the greatest writers and illustrators. And since you love comics, why not make one yourself? If you’re aged 7 to 17 and live in the UK, you can participate in the nationwide competition and stand a chance to win amazing prizes! Whether you make it on your own, as a class project, or with friends…entries can be submitted in French or English or both.


For more information and how to enter, download the attached flyer or visit the website

Cultural celebrations at Aston University!

West Midlands

Throughout March, Routes into Languages, in conjunction with Network for Languages and CLERA (Centre for Language Education Research at Aston) held a series of cultural days looking at Spanish, French and German as world languages.


The events were for Year 8 pupils and featured workshops from native speakers and final year students from French, Spanish and German speaking countries around the world. The visitors took pupils on a virtual tour of their country talking about topics such as food, history, cultural celebrations and geography. They brought in food and delicacies from their home nations (some even homemade!), small artefacts and shared personal photographs and stories to really give students the desire to travel! The countries covered ranged from closer to home Switzerland, Luxembourg and Austria to further flung Paraguay, Quebec and Burundi. After their workshops, the pupils then worked in mixed school groups to design posters in the target language to demonstrate what they had learned.


The aim of the events was to show the languages the pupils are studying in school as world languages and to inspire them to continue studying languages at school and beyond.


While the pupils were busy travelling the world from their classrooms, we were fortunate to have representation from the French Embassy, the Spanish Embassy and Goethe Institut who delivered CPD sessions for the teachers. The visitors also judged the best poster created by the pupils and awarded prizes.


The events were a great success: a total of 180 pupils from 15 schools across the region attended.



To find out more about any of these projects please visit the websites:


Routes into Languages West Midlands

Network for Languages


The Front National at forty: a ‘normal’ party now? - inaugural lecture at Aston University

West Midlands

Aston Inaugural: Professor Jim Shields, Tuesday 23rd April 



Aston Inaugurals



The Aston Inaugurals celebrate and showcase the research expertise of the University’s newly appointed professors across a diverse range of topics.   


The fourth lecture in the series will be given by Professor Jim Shields from Aston University's School of Languages and Social Sciences at 6.00pm on Tuesday 23rd April 2013. 


The Front National at forty: a ‘normal’ party now? 


In the 2012 French presidential and parliamentary elections, Marine Le Pen and her far-right Front National (FN) won a combined total of ten million votes, one in six of all first-round votes cast. This was an electoral support unprecedented in the party’s forty-year history. In the course of that history, the FN has grown from a small radical right-wing fringe movement to the third most important political party in France. In 2002, its founding leader, Jean-Marie Le Pen, shocked the political world by coming second in the presidential race; his daughter’s ambition now is to complete the party’s journey to mainstream acceptability. 


This lecture will consider some of the issues raised by the current strength and mainstream aspirations of the FN. It will be the second ‘inaugural’ lecture given by this speaker on this subject at Aston. The first was in autumn 1984 when, as a newly appointed fixed-term lecturer, a very much younger Jim Shields devoted his first lecture to the earliest signs of electoral breakthrough by a largely unknown Front National – never thinking he would be talking about it still three decades later. 


This Inaugural is the story of a long and unlikely personal association with a political party. Despite an academic career spent mostly elsewhere, it is also the story of a long, and unlikely, personal association with a university. 


All of the Aston Inaugurals will start at 6.00pm and will be held in the Sumpner Lecture Theatre located in the Main Building on Aston University campus which is just a short walk from the Centre of Birmingham. 


The event is free to attend and open to all. Complimentary tea and coffee will be served from 5.30pm and a buffet will follow the lecture.  


To book a seat, register via Eventbrite . For further information call please call 0121 204 4542 or email


Birmingham International Film Society offers some German films

West Midlands

Birmingham International Film Society and the Goethe-Institut are organising a German film season with introductions by academics from Birmingham University and Aston University.

The films are as follows:


CHANGING GERMANY: Migration and Imagination

Tuesday 5 February 6pm

When We Leave (Die Fremde) (12)

Dir: Feo Aladag Germany 2010

1hr 55mins German & Turkish with subtitles

Cast: Sibel Kekilli, Nizam Schiller, Settar Tanriögen

Unhappily married with a young son, German-born Umay lives in Istanbul. In desperation, she leaves her husband and returns unannounced to her parents in Berlin. Initially welcomed, she soon finds intense pressure on her to return, deemed to be bringing shame on her family by not living with her husband. Umay starts again from scratch, but she cannot totally forget her old life. Aladag portrays the life of a family bound by tradition while presenting Umay as a strong character, forced to revolt in order to survive and seek a chance of happiness.

Leila Mukhida (University of Birmingham) will be speaking about the film after the screening.

The film is presented in association with the London Goethe-Institut.


Winner: Six Awards including Best Film, German Film Critics Awards 2010


One of the best films I have ever seen. A remarkable achievement– The Huffington Post



CHANGING GERMANY: Migration and Imagination

Tuesday 5 February 8.30pm

Distant Lights (Lichter) (12)

Dir: Hans-Christian Schmid Germany 2003

1hr 41mins German, Polish & Russian with subtitles

Cast: Anna Janowskaaja, Ivan Shvedoff, Sergey Frolov

Set in two communities on the River Oder – Frankfurt in Germany and Slubice in Poland, Schmid interweaves a number of stories based on local research into illegal migration. A group of Ukrainians hoping to reach the ‘promised land’ of Berlin are stranded in Poland and try crossing the river at night. On the German side the locals are struggling trying to earn a living selling mattresses, car parts and smuggled cigarettes. A fascinating montage of Western and Eastern life on one of the key European borders at that time.

Dr Claudia Gremler, lecturer in German from Aston University will be speaking about the film after the screening. 

The film is presented in association with the London Goethe-Institut.


Winner: Best Film, German Film Critics Awards 2004


‘Stylistically… a superb achievement’ – The Film Journal




Wednesday 27 February 6.15pm

Jerichow (12)

Dir: Christian Petzold Germany 2009

1hr 28mins German with subtitles

Cast: Benno Fürmann, Hilmi Sözer, Nina Hoss

Jerichow - a small town in the ex-DDR plagued by population exodus and unemployment. Thomas, an ex-soldier returns to take over his mother's house. By chance he encounters Ali, owner of a snack bar chain in desperate need of a driver. The two become friends and Thomas works for Ali. Problems begin when he is attracted to Ali's wife Laura. Three people who have lost their way are brought together with tragic consequences. Petzold’s intriguing film is a taut, well-crafted reworking of The Postman Always Rings Twice reflecting the social impact of unification on the former East Germany.

Dr Elystan Griffiths (University of Birmingham) will be speaking about the film after the screening.

The film is presented in association with the London Goethe-Institut.


Winner: Best Film, German Film Critics Awards 2009


‘Petzold takes the Cain themes of lust and duplicity and twists them into a reflection on modern Germany, where nationalism and loyalties and identity and economics are jumbled and thrown into confusion’ –




Wednesday 27 February 8.15pm

And Along Come Tourists (Am Ende Kommen Touristen) (PG)

Dir: Robert Thalheim Germany 2007

1hr 22mins German with subtitles

Cast: Alexander Fehling, Ryszard Ronczewski, Barbara Wysocka

Young German Sven opts to do his civil service at Auschwitz in Poland where he encounters Stanislaw, a survivor placed in his care, and Ania, a museum guide and translator. Little by little through his relationships with them he comes to terms with the disturbing history and uncomfortable present nature of Germany’s responsibility to the victims of a brutal and genocidal occupation. Based on his own civil service experiences, Thalheim’s subtle and sensitive film confronts the challenge to the new generation of young Germans in facing up to the Nazi/Holocaust past.

Dr Joanne Sayner (University of Birmingham) will be speaking about the film after the screening.

The film is presented in association with the London Goethe-Institut.


Winner: Critics Award, German Film Critics Awards 2008


The film lends a weighty topic a lightness of tone and yet remains enthralling– Filmdienst



Ticket Prices

£4 Full Price, £3 Concessions.

Double Bill special price: £7 Full Price, £5 Concessions

Available on the door on the night.

Winner: Best Film Education Programme 2011, Film Society of the Year 2010 & Best Film Programming 2010

BIFS is supported by the British Film Institute Transition Fund